For the record, I believe in miracles. And you will too shortly if you don’t already.
Leaving the show grounds in Temecula, my barn mate TK (who was trailering us) graciously said that she would unload my horse and I could go home with my husband instead of go back to the barn with her and her boyfriend in the truck. I appreciatively accepted, and stuck around the showgrounds just long enough to ensure they posted my XC scores correctly (quickly learning my lesson from the issue with the stadium penalties).
Unfortunately my cell phone got put in the trailer’s tack room (alas, the risk of having people help you put things away rather than doing it yourself) so I had to go the barn in any case and wait for the trailer. And good thing I did.
They pulled in with the truck and trailer. It was dark and raining. TK went to unclip her horse George from the trailer tie to attach her lead rope, when she frantically ran to the back of the trailer while shouting “Quick! Get it open!”
Her horse was down, lying underneath the separator bar of the slant load trailer, with the hind half of his body underneath Hemie – between his front legs and back legs. George’s halter was still connected to the trailer tie so his head was up the air.
TK got the back of the trailer door open, Hemie carefully stepped out, and TK grabbed him. I jumped in the trailer to try and get her horse out. George tried getting up but hit the separator bar. I said “Easy boy, just wait” and amazingly, he did.
I got the bar free and opened, and George patiently got up. No thrashing, just got up normally. His halter hook snapped from the trailer tie, and he calmly backed himself out of the trailer. I let go of the bar and grabbed him. He just stood there, alert but quiet.
TK was completely in panic mode, so I took the lead in the situation. George’s front right standing wrap had come mostly undone, so I had her take it off while I held him by his broken halter. Then I walked him out for a minute or two. He had a small hitch in his step – front right. I felt up his leg and it definitely had some bumps. We called the vet.
Inside the trailer, the triangle feeder was broken on the right side clip. It looks like maybe George pawed, somehow got the wrap stuck on the feeder, scrambled and slipped and fell down, and of course wasn’t able to get back up.
George has some bumps and scrapes and a swollen knee. Its too soon to tell if there is any lasting damage. But the miracle is that he’s not so much worse. Lots of horses colic from the stress and shock alone. Furthermore, Hemie was completely unscathed. The vet had us check and re-check Hemie’s legs – apparently in situations like that, the down horse scrambles and kicks out in trying to get up, and ends up really hurting the other horse’s legs.
I don’t wrap Hemie’s legs for trailer rides, but I am seriously reconsidering that. I come from the school of thought that bandages getting caught or slipping are some of the more common trailering issues (possibly the cause of this issue, even). But right now the idea of protecting his legs is really resonating. But I’d want to do it with super strong cross-country boots such as the axe-proof Ecogolds. Does anyone else use heavy duty XC boots for trailering? Is that even a good idea?
At the end of the day, George is recovering, but both TK and I keep commenting to each other how lucky we are – how it could have been so much worse than it was. I’m very glad that both George and Hemie have enough sense that they didn’t hurt themselves from scrambling and freaking out in that situation, the way that other horses might have. Give your ponies an extra kiss tonight!